Act 13 Struck Down

The state Supreme Court this afternoon declared Act 13 unconstitutional.  This law was passed for the Marcellus shale gas industry to bypass local zoning regulations and force every community to permit gas drilling.  The Court held that it violated the Environmental Rights Amendment of the Pennsylvania constitution.  Chief Justice Castille was joined in the majority opinion by Justices Todd, McCaffery and Baer.  My friend Jordan Yeager was the attorney who argued the case before the Court.  A press release says the following:

“The Court has vindicated the public’s right to a clean environment and our right to fight for it when it is being trampled on. Today the environment and the people of Pennsylvania have won and special interests and their advocates in Harrisburg have lost. This proves the Constitution still rules, despite the greedy pursuits of the gas and oil industry. With this huge win we will move ahead to further undo the industry’s grip of our state government,” said Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper.

“This is a great historic victory for local democracy, for public health, and for the health of our environment. The shale gas industry overreached, greedily wanting to operate without respecting local concerns and without playing by the same set of rules everyone else has to play by. The Corbett Administration and the General Assembly went along with it and tried to give away our rights to the gas industry. The Supreme Court has made it clear that what they were trying to do violates our state Constitution. It’s a great day for the Constitution and the people of the Commonwealth”, said Jordan Yeager, counsel for the plaintiffs.

“The gas industry tried to take over every inch of every municipality in Pennsylvania for drilling, regardless of the zoning rights of local governments and the residents they represent. The industry and their backers in Harrisburg overreached when they thought they could literally takeover the state, turning it into one big drilling and gas infrastructure site. We fought this law because it was illegal and because it spelled ruin for public health and the environment, even though we, as plaintiffs, didn’t have nearly the resources our powerful and well-funded opponents had. This proves, when you have the law and environmental rights on your side, it’s worth fighting and you can win,” said Tracy Carluccio, Deputy Director, Delaware Riverkeeper Network.

Does Fitzpatrick Support the Constitution?

The NRCC ran racist ads last week against Kathy Boockvar claiming her husband was connected to Mumia Abu Jamal, a convicted cop killer.  I’ve known Jordan Yeager for years and he’s one of the top civil rights lawyers around.  The fact he represented someone unlawfully arrested at a Mumia protest event doesn’t equate with supporting the convict.  Every citizen has a right not to have the police violate their civil rights.  A citizen has the right to protest and many believe Mumia was railroaded because of his race.  I don’t know whether it’s true or not but the fact Jordan represented a client who did has nothing to do with his wife.  He was doing the job someone hired him to do:  protect their civil rights.  Obviously the NRCC has an issue with civil rights violations being brought before the courts.  Now there’s a dangerous thought:  Republicans in Congress not supporting OUR constitutional rights.  Mike Fitzpatrick refuses to take a stand on this.  Someone ask him if he thinks a citizen unlawfully arrested for exercising their constitutional rights shouldn’t have the right to counsel and due process against the police?  I’d like to hear his answer.

Anne Covey (Hearts) Karl Rove

Commonwealth Court candidate Anne Covey is seen chatting it up with Karl Rove in this picture from a dinner in Franklin County.  Rove, of course, is infamous for politicizing the justice system while serving as “Bush’s Brain.”  While in the White House as President Bush’s political director he oversaw the firing of eight U.S. Attorneys because they weren’t using their prosecutorial powers to jail enough Democrats.

Alberto Gonzales, Attorney General at the time, was eventually forced out of office for implementing Karl Rove’s mandate to politicize the Department of Justice.  Only “Loyal Bushies” such as Chris Christie, Tom Marino, Pat Meehan and Marybeth Buchanan kept their jobs and the Governor of Alabama was imprisoned on trumped up charges by Rove’s henchman.

Cozying up to the likes of Rove while running for one of our high courts doesn’t show very good judgment.  Would Covey use him as an example for corrupting our justice system here in Pennsylvania?  This picture scares the dickens out of me.